ILDERTON, ONTARIO - Farmers will benefit from research on a new crop which may be able to produce valuable biofuels and biochemicals thanks to an investment from the Government of Canada. Member of Parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Bev Shipley announced today an investment of up to $133,500 to Western University.
“This investment is a great example of how we are working with stakeholders to get the maximum value out of alternative crops, in turn giving farmers the chance to diversify their opportunities,” said MP Shipley, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “This is proof that our Government is committed to putting farmers first.”
The Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR), faculty of Engineering at Western University is researching the Jerusalem Artichoke, a relative of the Sunflower. The plant, which thrives in the unique soils and climate of the Sand Plains region, is a new crop option for farmers. The project will determine the Jerusalem Artichoke’s economic potential as an industrial crop and will look at finding the maximum value of using the plant as feedstock to produce both biofuels and biochemicals. The chemicals taken from parts of the plant can also be used for food additives, flavours, pharmaceuticals and medicinal purposes.
“The Sand Plains Community Development Fund has given us the opportunity to assemble a multidisciplinary team of researchers to investigate the potential of Jerusalem Artichoke as an alternative crop for the farmers of the Sand Plains,” said Dr. Franco Berruti, Director at ICFAR. “The results have been encouraging, and we have identified interesting opportunities for this unique and valuable plant.”
This investment is being provided through the Sand Plains Community Development Fund administered by the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations. The fund targets community-based initiatives that support regional development, attract and retain people and investment, and stimulate business development and job creation.